Earth Support Systems (difficult terms I need to go over).

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  • Life Support Systems - Hard Bits.
    • Anthropogenic changes to Carbon and water availability.
      • Deforestationreduces carbon store in biosphere and photosynthetic fixture of carbon.
      • Acidifcation of the ocean threatens biological carbon stores and phytoplankton fixing carbon via photosynthesis.
      • Urbanisation reduces evapotranspiration due to reduced vegetation and therefore precipitation/interception and moisture decline. Increased run-off and reduced infiltration are also a concern.
      • Increased soil erosion results in depletion of carbon stores in the soils.
      • Rising demand for water for irrigation/domestics/industry creates water shortages in many countries including India, Bangladesh, and the USA (California and Colorado Basin).
      • Fossil fuels account for 90% of global primary energy consumption, removing billions of gallons of carbon from geological stores.
    • Odd Bits out.
      • Percolation; Downward movement of water into groundwater stores.
      • Evapotranspiration factors: Temperature, humidity, photoperiod and Wind direction.
      • Crysopheric processes - Accumulation,sublimation ablation.
      • Hydrosphere /lithosphere - Marine microorganisms, calcium carbonate shells in crustaceans living organism and dead organic matter. marine food chain.   Fossil fuel and sedimentary deposits.
    • Carbon Sequestration in the ocean.
      • Oceanic Carbon Pump - Warm water on ocean surface cools down, becoming saline and denser undergoing downwelling with carbon dioxide.. Warms up again and loses co2 to atmosphere. Constantly vertical circulation.
      • Biological pump - Phytoplankton i the surface layer of the hydrosphere fix co2 by photosynthesis and this is passed on through marine food chains. Carbonate is removed from shells. Dying organisms will decompose as they sink into deep water, releasing carbon dioxide.
    • Seasonal/dirunal Changes.
      • Seasons controlled by variations of solar intensity. This affects rate of evapotranspiration and precipitation. Variations are shown in monthly variations of NPP.
      • Significant changes occur within 24 hours in the water cycle, evapotranspiration is lower at night due to lower tempetaturesand Downpours in the afternoon are a feature of some climates. because of intense convectional heating
    • Clouds/precipitation.
      • Frontal rainfall: When air masses with different densities and temperatures meet, warm air rises above cooler, denser air.
      • Cloud formation: Air is saturated either due to cooling below the dew point or evaporation meaning the air reaches it maximum water-storage potential. Nuclei such as dust or smoke has to be present.
      • Convectional rainfall: Warm air rises from hot surfaces on a sunny day causing convection to promote rainfall.
      • Orographic rainfall: When rainfall forms due to air rising in hills and mountains.
    • Management Strategies.
      • Afforestation - replanting vegetation in new or deforested areas.  UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation schemes encourage developing countries to conserve.
      • Wetland restoration - account for 35% of terrestrial carbon pool and include marshes, peatlands, floodplains and mangroves. EU habitats directive and IN convection on wetlands.
      • Improved agricultural techniques - Mulching to add organic matter therefore reduce carbon loss in ground storage. Rotation of cash crops to increase biomass. Improved crop varieties to enhance organic carbon and productivity.
      • Reducing carbon emissions. - Carbon trading, International agreements, transport innovations. Carbon credits.
    • Long term climate change impacts.
      • Carbon cycle - Increase carbon in atmosphere, decrease in biosphere and hydrosphere. Higher temperatures mean more decomposition and rate of atmospheric transfer increases. aridity increase means grasslands replace vegetation during carbon stores. Global warming causes boreal forests to spread North and permafrost releases carbon as frozen ground thaws.
        • Volcanic Activity - Volcanic explosions release sulphur dioxide into upper atmosphere, reducing income of solar radiation. This is counter-balanced by absorption of outgoing terrestrial radiation from greenhouse gases. The resulting climate is uncertain.
      • Water cycle - Increased evaporation therefore increased atmospheric water vapour (positive feedback), Increased precipitation in urbanised areas on deforested floodplains increases flooding. Increase vapour means more intense rainfall, more likely events such as tornados or floods.
    • Human impacts on Cycles.
      • Urbanisation - Urban development on floodplains. reduced surface vegetation. Concrete/brick/tarmac.
      • Farming practices - ploughing increases soil moisture loss and form drainage channels .Heavy machinery impact soil. CO^2 emissions from tractor. Irrigation diverts water from river/groundwater supplies Transfers low in agroecosystems than naturally forested vegetation.
      • Water extraction - occurs temporarily or pernamently from ground storage or surface for agricultueral/domestic/industrial uses. Over extraction can result in empty wells damaged wetlands, sinking water tables and dried up rivers.
      • Forestry - Plantations of natural forest. Evapotranspiration higher in forested areas compared to moorlands/farmlands. Localised deforestation.Trees are only active carbon sink for first 100 years, forestry planting occurs 80-100 years.


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